From the last MLS team standing in the Concacaf Champions league to being in the Eastern Conference final, it was an impressive season for the Philadelphia Union. Sure, there was no silver added to the cabinet this season, but just read those two accomplishments that this team made. A team that before the season sold off Brenden Aaronson, and weeks before the start of the season the unexpected Ray Gaddis retirement. So, with some many questions heading into the 2021 season, it turned out pretty alright.
Minus the fact that everyone will always be asking themselves what could be one of the biggest Philadelphia What if questions. What if the Union didn’t have 11 guys in Covid-19 protocols? What if they had Blake in net? Fans will truly always wonder that mystery and unfortunately unless a huge Union fan builds a time machine to travel back to December of 2021, we will never know the answer.
Now to something we do know the answers to, how we all did on our 2021 predictions. You may recall, we asked our contributors and readers their thoughts for the upcoming season. Let’s take a look back at some of the bold and not so bold predictions people had for the boys in blue.
The Union make the Champions League final. Maybe it won’t win the whole thing, but Philadelphia has the pieces to get through its side of the bracket.
As I said in the opening sentence, they were close. A missed penalty kick by Monteiro and two late goals really sealed the fate for the Union in the Second leg of the semi-finals back in September.
Eastern Conference Finals.
Speaking of their CCL run, remember how they played in league play at the start of the season? Not the best. They didn’t get their first league win until May 5 against Chicago. However, after the CCL Semi-final match, they would go on a streak of 6 games without a loss. Until they lost in the conference final, the only other loss the team had was on October 20 when they played Minnesota.
New HG players receive a lot less playing time than expected.
This is a tough one, I mean truly how many minutes did one thing the homegrown players would get? I will say at least one was featured as a sub in a lot of matches. Some of them even got starts due to players being unavailable.
Mbaizo will score a goal but nobody will riot.
Close on the scoring defiantly called it on the no riot. It was Halloween night when at first glance we all thought Mbaizo scored in the 11th minute, but going into the net it was redirected by Daniel Gazdag.
Oravec will get minutes and be a key factor to the team’s success.
Way off. The man who was highly touted when the Union brought him into the fold, has yet to be on the pitch for the team. In fact, this season they loaned him to one of his former teams in Slovakia’s second tier, where he has been playing 90 minutes in most of their matches.
Kacper and Fontana will not equal their goal production from last year.
Spot on, however I don’t think many people expected Fontana not to be included in the lineup as much as he wasn’t. According to transfermarkt.us, Anthony was not named to the gameday squad 15 times this season. He struggled this season with injury, spending time in June and July on the league’s concussion protocol. As of right now, we also will not be seeing this as a prediction for next season either, as Fontana is out of contract.
Not So Bold Predictions
The Union will not repeat as Supporters’ Shield winners but will go further in the playoffs. Prediction nailed. The Union did not find themselves at the top of the table this year, as that honor belonged to New England with 73 points. The revolution won the trophy on October 30, with one game remaining. They would also go on to lose in the playoffs against eventual MLS Cup winners NYCFC.
The Union won’t set a new team point record (under 55).
The Union was really close to making this not accurate. Like they just missed tying the 55-point record by one point. The boys in blue ended the season with 54 points.
Slight regression at the beginning of the season.
Call it 50/50, as it was no surprise the Union struggled early compared to how they ended last season. While they struggled in league play, they sure did an amazing job in the CCL. So, I am on the fence for this one.
Blake will continue to preserve games late with great at least one great save.
Accurate. I mean do I have to go further into details about how this man has saved the Union in more games this season than I can count. If it wasn’t for the incredible season Matt Turner had, Blake would be 3-time goalkeeper of the year.
Their new jerseys will sell out.
I was hesitant when they first got released, really wasn’t into the color combo, probably because I wore blue and yellow for 8 years of my life attending grade school in the northeast. However, I will say that towards the end of the season those kits really brought some energy into stores as many people were rocking the secondary BY|U kits. Also probably helped that Curtin would show off some of the hoodies on the sidelines.